Letters for February 2, 2006

Correction: Chico State University has not “acquired” all of the Cherry Street block between First and Second streets as reported in the Jan. 26 story, “Rec center rock,” and as represented in the school’s 10-year Master Plan. The News & Review regrets the error.

Valley of the damned
When the Chico City Council voted to shift the housing off the upper 80 acres of the Oak Valley development, it was simply acting upon the directions of Chico’s General Plan, which makes numerous references to preserving the foothill landscape. The General Plan was carefully crafted by a broad spectrum of Chico citizens over a long period of time involving numerous volunteer meetings. It was then approved by a majority of a fairly elected council. Our General Plan is a piece of forward-thinking that represents Chico’s own unique planning vision.

Tom Fogarty’s lawsuit, using a trivial procedural detail, is an assault on Chico’s own democratic process. It is a great example of how out-of-town, big-money interests try to dictate our future. If he wins, the people of Chico lose. The beauty of our foothill oak woodlands and viewshed is compromised, and the General Plan suffers a major black eye.

We, the Altacal Audubon Society, participated in the original crafting of the General Plan, and we strongly support the decision of the council to shift the housing downhill.

Mike Fisher, co-vice President
Altacal Audubon Society,

Nice raise, supes
Congratulations to the Butte County supervisors on the courage they have shown in giving themselves that 56-percent pay raise. The selflessness they exhibited by putting themselves ahead of the taxpayers who get to pay for this and the people who work under them who make much less and who haven’t had raises in years was truly touching.

It’s good to see that they can put partisan politics aside— at least for a good cause like feathering there own nests. I thank them for reaffirming every cynical thought I’ve ever had about politicians, politics and government. In this time of chronic budget problems they have proven beyond doubt that every one of them deserves to be recalled.

At a time when people in Butte County struggle to get by they have shown that they have no shame!

Ken Demorro,

The good fight
Recently the local daily reads more like a public relations organ for sprawl-hungry developers and the vindictive anti-labor Enloe Medical Center administration. I am particularly concerned that there seems to be a campaign in those pages to embarrass and undermine the progressives on the Chico City Council.

As one of very many in this community who appreciates a progressive philosophy in land use and community development I am grateful to Scott Gruendl, Maureen Kirk, Andy Holcombe and Ann Schwab for standing courageously against greed-head, out-of-town developers like Tom Fogarty. I also appreciate that two of our city councilmembers were willing to publicly display their support for labor at the local hospital monopoly. It takes this kind of leadership and action to insure that Chico will continue to be a great place in the future.

In this troubled time of leaked memos and specious lawsuits, I am proud to say that I have supported these councilmembers’ campaigns in the past, I believe in the quality and integrity of their leadership and I will continue to support them as they fight on the front line for our precious community.

Dan Carter,

I’ve been defense counsel in some of Kristen Lucena’s cases and found her friendly and professional, but she suffered from the prosecution delusion that police reports are accurate, that officers don’t lie on the stand or plant evidence, that defendants are guilty until proven innocent, and that fair is what the weather should be.

I expect that of deputy district attorneys, but the irritating part was that, even with her prosecutorial experience, she was unable to make reasonable decisions regarding plea negotiations without first obtaining permission from whoever was micromanaging the case. Be concerned that her legal experience is prosecution-oriented. Too often, a local ex-DDA elected as judge lacks clackers to stand up to an officious DA who thinks he runs the Superior Court.

I suspect wannabe judge Lucena would find it difficult to shrug loose the paternal arm around the shoulder, especially if she’s been “groomed” for judgeship since her early days as a prosecutor. Did defendants receive fair treatment from the prosecution and the “grooming” judges? If I’d known about the “grooming,” I would have filed a crap load of judge disqualification declarations.

So, candidate, get off the prosecution high horse and discuss candidly what you’d do about over-charged and micro-managed cases. Better, promise you’ll exercise judicial integrity by dismissing some of the stupidly charged cases that slither through the local criminal justice system.

Nothing personal, but if you’re elected, expect a disqualification in every case until you demonstrate more experience handling cases other than just criminal law from the narrow prosecution view.

Ray Simmons,

Access granted
I understand the concerns raised in your Jan. 26 editorial “For the public” about changes in CUSD’s board meetings’ frequency and general public comment.

What wasn’t reported is that every agenda item has a public comment period, meaning that if there are seven items on the agenda, there are seven opportunities for the public to address the board about those items during the meeting. What changed was the “general public comment” for items not on the agenda. That was moved to late in the meeting, which is just what the county Board of Supervisors meetings does.

The intent wasn’t to limit the public’s ability to address the board, but rather to prevent comments not related to that night’s meeting from delaying regular business.

The public can, of course, comment to the entire board at any time, through e-mail, telephone and letters and ask that items of concern be placed on the agenda. I welcome such input and know my colleagues do also.

As for the regular meeting frequency change to once a month, I see this as an opportunity for more hands-on meetings at school sites. I expect the alternate meeting date will be used for such meetings where the board and public can operate in a more relaxed atmosphere with more open thought and discussion. I hope to have those meetings carried on the Internet video streaming system I recently installed for the City Council.

As Trustee Rick Anderson pointed out, “we can change it back” if it doesn’t work out.

Anthony Watts,

Bush whacked
President Bush may sincerely feel he is protecting the U.S. from terrorism, but history shows us that the ends don’t justify the means and that power corrupts. He has broken too many laws, including wiretapping, torture, jailing suspects without a trial, and manipulating intelligence reports about weapons of mass destruction to justify a war for oil. Congress should stand up and protect the law and preserve balance of powers sought for by the founding fathers.

Gayle Kimball,

Foreign sex
Last week your paper included a picture that I found repulsive. ["The Days of Lore,” Jan. 19] The picture was of a man having sex with a woman in a foreign car. If your paper continues with these types of pictures then I will withdraw my support from your paper. The issue with the girl holding the dildo was the last straw, but I believe you have a good paper. Don’t blow it by peddling sex like corporate America.

Alberto Hernandez,